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WATCH: 'Presence is power': Governor Whitmer joins Equal Pay Day conversation

Posted at 5:09 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 17:09:43-04

(WXMI) — The Michigan Women's Commission hosted an Equal Pay Day conversation this afternoon with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in attendance.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, women have been hit hardest by the COVID layoffs,” says Governor Whitmer.

The governor outlined the number of women that exited the workforce last year, adding that many women with children have found greater difficulty in reentering the workforce in the midst of the pandemic.

Whitmer adds Michigan women who are working make 22% less than men, emphasizing that the gender pay gap is wider in the state than the national average. She goes on to say that the income disparity is even greater when accounting for people and women of color.

“We have to double down and do more in this space,” Whitmer says. She went on to highlight the state initiatives that aim to reverse the disparities between men and women, including the goal to increase access to affordable childcare and the Michigan Reconnect program.

“We all deserve representation,” Whitmer said. “Presence is power.”

The governor called upon residents to "speak up and speak out" to state and local legislators as a crucial step to closing the gender pay gap.

Watch the full conversation here:

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